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The grass is greener

There's a lady who lives down the street, and any time it's not raining she's on her hands and knees in her yard, taking care of the grass. If there's daylight and if it's not raining, she's out there, always wearing a frumpy hat for protection from the sun, and gloves, and an apron that extends past her knees.

To me grass is something you mow, and maybe rake up after mowing, though I never bothered with raking. To her, grass is something to love.

Yesterday it snowed a little, so she went inside, but before the snow she'd been tending the small lawn around her modest home, precisely snipping at it with hand-clippers that look like oversized scissors. The day before, she'd worked on the narrow strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. This morning it's not even 40 degrees out, we're at winter's doorstep, and if I tilt my head to an awkward position, from my window I can barely see one corner of her lawn — and there she is, manicuring individual blades of grass.

Freedom means each of us choose what we care about, and that woman cares about her lawn. I don't understand it, but it doesn't matter whether I understand. All that matters is her passion, and I respect that woman's passion.

It's time for my walk in the brisk A.M. air, so I went around the block in the other direction, sneaking up on her and watching from a distance. I could see my own breath in the chill, but yup, there she was, bent over, using her hand-held snippers to perform a delicate surgical procedure on the grass.

I looked at her yard, really looked for the first time, and here's what I saw:

In color and texture and depth, she does have the best-looking damned lawn in the neighborhood. It's a thick, deep green with no brown spots, no bald spots, no crabgrass, no dandelions, and there's not even one leaf to be seen, though it's autumn and leaves are everywhere else in the city.

"You have a very nice lawn!" I said, walking past on the sidewalk. She didn't say anything, but she looked up and waved at me. Then she resumed snipping at her lawn.

 

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